Tuesday, 24 March 2015

New books and news from Valley Press

Dear readers,

This month I'm proud to introduce two new books into the world, Seahouses by Richard Barnett and (deep breath) Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space by Nora Chassler. If you want to bail out of this blog post now, having visited those two links, you should feel free - I recently asked Mrs. McGarry if she reads these missives; she sighed and said 'well, they're a bit long aren't they'. So this is your point to escape ... otherwise, let's push on.

I'll start with GDMEOS, or Granny as I've been calling it for short. Set mainly in a small flat in New York, in 1982, this is a novel that has so far been called 'unabashedly literary' and 'a bit post-narrative' by those attempting to concisely explain it. The press release, posted here, offers a more thorough introduction, and there's a sample here.

A launch event for this book is coming up next week in Edinburgh; specifically, at the marvellous Word Power Books, on Monday 30th March, from 6.30pm. This is a 'drinking and mingling' type of launch, with minimal public speaking, but the author will read a few choice paragraphs from throughout the book to whet your appetite - and sign copies of course.

Then we have Seahouses, the debut collection of poetry by Richard Barnett (beautifully pictured here on a bench by our own Jo Brandon). You may have heard of Richard through his acclaimed non-fiction writing, or encountered his poetry in Pocket Horizon back in 2013; but if you'd like to get better acquainted, he recently recorded three Seahouses poems for a podcast, which you can find here. If you prefer poems on the page, where you can keep an eye on them, you can read the first 17 pages of the book on its homepage here.

This book has a launch event too, though you don't need to get your coat on just yet - the Seahouses launch is on Wednesday 27th May, from 6pm, at Blackwell's Holborn in London. Richard will be reading at 7pm, but before that, you've guessed it - drinking and mingling. The literary life is a tough one!

In other news, Valley Press is heading to the London Book Fair on the 15th and 16th April, and this year we really mean business - we're exhibiting, in a part of the fair which the organisers are calling 'the Poetry Pavilion'. The precise stand number, if you'd like to come and see us, is 3A74b; it's a shared one with our perennial allies The Emma Press (who you'll find 50cms to the right, at 3A74a). We're really looking forward to it - we've got our entry badges printed out and everything.

I'll end with a few bits of press: there was a full page on Oz Hardwick's The Ringmaster's Apprentice in the Yorkshire Post a couple of weeks ago; the wonderful Sabotage Reviews tackled Richard O'Brien's A Bloody Mess and (somewhat belatedly) Miles Salter's Animals; Cuckoo Reviews did justice to A Pocketful of Windows and A Bloody Mess; and Helen Mort was full of praise for Matthew Hedley Stoppard's A Family Behind Glass on Twitter last week. Oh, and as I write this very paragraph, Rodge Glass has just declared his love for the writing of Nora Chassler - and says Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space is a great title.

I'll see you next month for details of our two April books, and any news that might arise from the LBF. Looks like a busy spring for Valley Press this year!

All the best, and thanks for reading,
Jamie McGarry (VP Publisher)

Friday, 20 March 2015

Press release: New from Valley Press, Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space

An ‘unabashedly literary’ novel, Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space is is the new book from Scottish-based, American-born writer Nora Chassler – a story as distinctive and unforgettable as its title.

Set in New York City, 1982, the book follows a dysfunctional family – detail-obsessed Carrie, constantly-angry Eli, their pot-smoking mother Viv and her teenage boyfriend, Arnie – who live in a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. One by one, they encounter a psychic, Miss Rosa, who lives ‘above the smaller dry cleaners’ and is desperate to share her life story with the family; a story that resonates disturbingly with their own lives.

‘It’s about the blur between kids and adults, sex and love, stories and real life,’ says Chassler of her latest publication. ‘It was a hard novel to write. I knew it was odd from the moment I started … though I tried to make it as pleasurably readable as possible, while respecting its increasingly bizarre aims. Hopefully I managed to juxtapose the plotless discomfort of the family with the deathbed story Rosa is attempting to concoct, to make sense of her life. In a way, it’s about the stories we think we’ve lived.’

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1972, Nora Chassler grew up in New York, a city she writes about in immersive, extraordinary detail – almost as a character in its own right. She has an undergraduate degree in English from Hunter College, CUNY, and a Masters in Creative Writing from St Andrews. She has worked as a model and a social worker, and now lives in Edinburgh.

Her first novel, Miss Thing (2010) was described by The Herald as ‘Somewhere between Nabokov and Bret Easton Ellis … Chassler’s characters illicit real emotion. Their stories grip you to the last and leave you wanting more.’ The Independent said Chassler’s ‘shimmering debut’ ‘demands – and rewards – close attention. It’s clever, playful and often darkly funny. It’s also touching.’

Produced in a luxurious foil-finished paperback format by Scarborough’s Valley Press, Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space will be launched in an event at Edinburgh’s ‘Word Power Books’, on Monday 30th March, from 6.30pm.


Find out more about the book, and read a sample, here.

Journalists/bloggers: download this press release as a PDF here.